St. Lucia comes to CoMo

Synth-pop act St. Lucia stops by CoMo for the Red Bull Sound Select Tour

By Amanda Lundgren | Sept. 16, 2014

Tags: Concerts Music The Blue Note

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St. Lucia frontman Jean-Philip Grobler was not your typical 10-year-old. When he wasn’t touring the world with the Drakensberg Boys Choir, he was attending boarding school in the South African mountains, swimming in rivers and making music in his free time.

After deciding to make a career of his talents, Grobler moved to England at the age of 19 to study music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Post-graduation, Grobler took up a job writing jingles for a company in Brooklyn, New York.

Shortly after, he began experimenting with his own music in the studio. Grobler then teamed up with friends Nick Brown, Ross Clark, Patricia Beranek and Nicky Paul, and St. Lucia was born.

Tired of the alternative rock scene, Grobler decided to go back to his roots for inspiration.

“The music that I used to make had an alternative rock kind of influence, and, you know, at some point I started getting frustrated doing it,” he says. “I just felt like I was kind of hitting a brick wall the whole time.

“Not because of that, but as a reaction to that, I started expanding my music listening variety, like listening back to the music that I loved when I was a kid. (I listened to) ‘80s music, a lot of world music in general and a lot of African music.”

Even before hearing the music, one can get a good understanding of the band’s vibe simply from their name, a reference to Grobler’s childhood vacation spot.

“The idea of St. Lucia has sort of an exotic feeling when people think about it or when people hear that name,” he says. “That, to me, is what the music has as well.”

Grobler cites many artists as sources of inspiration for St. Lucia’s newest album, “When The Night,” but one thing they all have in common is their ability to adapt. His diverse range of influences include David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Kanye West.

“They’re constantly challenging themselves,” Grobler says. “That’s something I definitely aspire to myself.”

One thing Grobler refuses to do is put a label on his band. He sees St. Lucia as an amalgam of different genres that continues to grow and change alongside him. Grobler says the band’s sound isn’t static, and they’re always trying new things.

When it comes to touring, St. Lucia are no amateurs. The band opened for Two Door Cinema Club and Ellie Goulding, co-headlined gigs with Charli XCX and are about to headline their very own The Night Comes Again tour.

So, what can fans expect from the show?

“We’re kind of using the Red Bull show as a chance to sort of test out the new stuff that we plan on playing for the (upcoming) tour and see how it works,” Grobler says. “It’s definitely going to be the first time we’ve played some of these songs, so it’s exciting.”

If you want to experience firsthand the ‘80s-inspired, exotic, nostalgic synth-pop that is St. Lucia, come check them out at The Blue Note on Sept. 19. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins at 9 p.m.

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